Sep 17, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Boston Red Sox left fielderYoenis Cespedes
(52) hits balls to infielders during batting practice before playing the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
If you told Oakland Athletics and Boston Red Sox fans a year ago that team favorites Yoenis Cespedes and Jon Lester would be trading places they would have called you crazy. Yet that was the precise situation heaped upon us at the 2014 trade deadline, and to make things even more interesting these two players, for sure one of them, will be switching teams yet again by the time spring hits in 2015. The powerful hitter/pitcher duo are definitely on the burners of the hot stove this winter. They may even end up teammates, but that’s looking unlikely. So what is likely to happen?
Of the two hot commodities, Jon Lester’s eventual whereabouts have been narrowed down. The Chicago Cubs have been courting the top free agent pitcher and Lester has ties with Cubs’ president Theo Epstein from their Beantown days. It’s been reported that the Cubs have made an offer for six years and $135 million plus. Of course Boston will bid to get their left-hand man back and has reportedly made an offer in the $110-120 million dollar range. Lester has also been in talks with his now hometown Atlanta Braves and other National League teams including the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals.
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It seems these last two clubs don’t have the draw that the other three suitors do, but one thing we well know is that baseball is full of surprises. It won’t surprise me if Lester does not go back to Boston. If Boston wanted to keep their man they should have put up the numbers before and not traded him away. Lester has accomplished much in his nearly 31 years, not only as the bearer of two World Series rings, but as a cancer survivor, bringing a unique perspective to the free agent table. Lester also has a young family and a new home in the Atlanta area making the Braves a good fit and where I think he will end up in 2015 and beyond.
So that leaves Yoenis Cespedes over in Boston, or does it? The Red Sox have made two of the biggest acquisitions this offseason with Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez. These two are already a great fit joining their buddy Big Papi, David Ortiz, but where does Cespedes fit in? Ramirez is slated to be the starting left fielder, the position once owned by Cespedes before he was traded to Boston from the Athletics. Ramirez only adds to an already overflowing outfield in the Green Monster’s shadow, so someone has to go, and that someone is probably Yoenis Cespedes.
Long before another right handed bat was added to the Red Sox roster, stories were flying about their discontent with Cespy. It would be no shock to hear of a breaking story, a real one, with the news of his departure from Boston. It pains A’s fans to see La Potencia so quickly dismissed after the trade that left such an unmistakable, gaping hole in the lineup. Is it possible he ends up back on the west coast? Oakland fans would welcome him back with open arms but we won’t get our hopes up. As the trade rumors have it, Cespedes is being asked about by our AL West rivals in Seattle and also the San Diego Padres in the NL West. This is a tough one to call but I surely don’t want to see Cespy in the Coliseum for ten games this season in a Mariners uniform.
As November draws to a close and baseball’s winter meetings set to begin the craze of many more signings, we hesitantly look forward to where these guys, once our guys, will call home.